I am so, so SO excited to announce a new WanderFit Training blog series featuring real people and their journeys with fitness. These people are not airbrushed. They are not famous. They are REAL PEOPLE, like me and you. Real, healthy people who have found a way to incorporate health into their and their families’ lives. Check back in over the next few months to read about their experiences. But before I share their stories with you, I want to share my story. Sit back folks, this gets personal.
So how does a self proclaimed former chubby kid become a full time fitness professional?
I am a rehabbed chubby kid. Growing up, I was overweight. I’d like to make a few disclaimers here: I wasn’t ever forced to clean my plate, and I was moderately active. My parents never, ever commented on my weight and appearance, and I was never, ever told I needed to lose weight I just
LOVED (nah, I still LOVE) FOOD. I hated gym class (seriously, dodgeball SUCKED, and the dance unit was just full of awkward moments filled with boys on one side of the gym and girls on the other). I was always more content reading my books or talking with friends than running around during recess. The boy I sat next to in 5th grade made fun of me for being overweight, and that sucked. It’s funny how I couldn’t show you how to perform long division, but I can recite the first and last name of that mean boy, and where we sat in the room. I remember thinking I needed to be skinny and tall, like the other girls were…at the age of 11. Lucky for me, I got a little taller, slimmed up in middle school and had fun running track and staying active throughout my early teens.
In late high school, by way of a bout with teen-anxiety driven depression, I ballooned. It sucked, and I didn’t realize it. I ate a lot, I was addicted to sugar, I didn’t exercise, and I was larger than I had ever been. I have always had hips (I can lose 20 lbs and stay the same trouser size…all because of those hips!) but this was more than hips. It was fat, and lots of it. I was sad. I hated high school (ok…really….did anyone really ever like high school??) I wasn’t very social. I had some good friends, and some people in my life who I learned were not my friends. At times, I know I also sucked as a friend. I needed a change, I just didn’t know it.
Enter: college…the best thing that ever happened to me. I went to school where I didn’t know a soul. I walked everywhere. I exercised a lot. I joined a sorority, and (aside from a few people who I quickly learned were not my friends…bullies in grown up form do exist…) I made friends. I developed strong friendships who saw through my awkwardness (I still take the cake for that, but at least I own it now), and they saw true friendship in me back. These women encouraged me. They stuck by my side, and I am so proud and grateful to call them my friends today. I also lost the freshman 20 instead of gaining the 15.
With this new found life, I discovered I loved being healthy. I loved being HAPPY. I remember crying when I felt better, because I didn’t know how badly I felt before. Simultaneously, I discovered I loved watching sports. As a kid, I didn’t watch many sports. Let me tell you, when you go to a Big 10 school in a state with no professional sports, you learn to like sports. So I changed my major (for the 5th time…) to Health and Sports Studies, and I continued on track with my Communication Studies degree. I wanted to promote health. I wanted others to find new life in feeling healthy and happy.
I dug deeper in my studies, and I had a joyful experience studying abroad where I met a whole new group of friends. Friends who awakened the need to wander, explore and seek new experiences. A traveling beast (talk about beast mode on steroids!) awoke in me the day I landed in Europe, and that feeling of excitement has fueled me through my adult life. I backpacked, hiked, and puddle hopped my way across Europe.
After I graduated, I was fortunate enough to land a part time position helping out in a fitness center. 9 months later, I was a full time Fitness Coordinator, managing and programming for Group Exercise and the Fitness Center. I finished my personal training credentialing process and started training infrequently. But this was not enough. I wanted more. I craved deeper connections with people while helping them improve their health and well being. So the idea of WanderFit Training was born. Every day, I have the opportunity to change lives. I have the opportunity to help people help themselves.
I still have days when I feel chubby. I eat cake. I drink beer. But I also eat carrots and bookend my beer with water. I have found myself through fitness and good health. When I say I have been there, man oh man have I been there. Sometimes I feel that I am still there. Oh! And that mean boy I sat next to in 5th grade? Well, last I heard, he had a receding hairline and was still mean.
What is your fitness story? I’d love to hear it in the “Comments” section below!